Deep venous thrombosis prophylaxis: are guidelines being followed?

ANZ J Surg. 2002 May;72(5):331-4. doi: 10.1046/j.1445-2197.2002.02402.x.


Introduction: The purposes of the present study were to determine whether patients in The Canberra Hospital are receiving appropriate Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis, and to ascertain the awareness of appropriate treatment by clinicians.

Methods: Part 1 of the present study comprised of a point prevalence study of The Canberra Hospital inpatients. Patients were assessed for the risk of their developing DVT. The prophylaxis they were receiving was documented. In Part 2 of the present study, clinicians at The Canberra Hospital filled out a questionnaire that outlined three case scenarios. They were required to identify the risk group and appropriate prophylaxis for each group. Consultants, registrars and junior medical officers were assessed separately.

Results: The results of Part 1 of the present study showed that the majority of inpatients in The Canberra Hospital are not receiving appropriate prophylaxes according to international guidelines. Graduated compression stockings are rarely used, and often ineffectively applied. All groups performed poorly in Part 2 of the present study. Participants were frequently unable to identify the risk group for a particular scenario. There was also confusion regarding the appropriate prophylaxis for a particular risk group.

Discussion: Deep Venous Thrombosis is a major problem among hospitalized patients. However, despite its importance, there is a lack of appropriate prophylaxes being instituted. This, together with the poor performance of the participating clinicians in Part 2 of the present study,indicate that there are significant problems in The Canberra Hospital regarding DVT prophylaxes and that steps need to be taken to overcome these problems.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hospitals, Teaching / standards*
  • Humans
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Venous Thrombosis / prevention & control*